Chiapas: Protest to Cancel Femsa-Coca Cola Concession in San Cristobal de las Casas

April 14, 2017

Coca Cola.pngAction aganst Femsa Coca Cola, SCLC (Photo@ Alianza por la Salud Alimentaria)

On April 10th, as part of the commemoration of the 98th anniversary of the assassination of Emiliano Zapata, organizations and neighborhoods of San Cristobal de las Casas made a march to demand the cancellation of the concession to Femsa Coca Cola or at least a cap on the extraction of water from the plant installed in this city.

They denounced that, “this company extracts more than 750,000 liters of water every day in a city that faces a growing shortage of this liquid. In addition to being responsible for the serious health consequences of the high consumption of Coca Cola and other sugary drinks, which have caused a serious epidemic of obesity, diabetes and dental caries suffered by the population of the Chiapas Highlands” (sic).

Due to this they demanded that the authorities stop “giving the transnational company preferential treatment”; “to the Ministry of Health, the withdrawal of Coca Cola vending machines from hospitals and public buildings where health care is promoted and the mayor of San Cristobal de Las Casas is investigated for favoring invasions and the destruction of natural reserves and wooded areas that put the springs and the water supply of the city at risk.”

Demonstrators said that this action was the beginning of a permanent campaign that will include mobilizations and legal actions to recover water in favor of citizens.

 For more information in Spanish:

Comunicado de prensa (organizaciones convocantes, 10 de abril de 2017)

Hoja informativa sobre Coca Cola en Chiapas (Alianza por la Salud Alimentaria)

Protestan contra Femsa-Coca Cola por explotar reservas de agua en Chiapas (Proceso, 10 de abril de 2017)

 For more information form SIPAZ:

Chiapas: Zinacantán contra la privatización de su agua y el despojo de su manantial (Mayo 24, 2016)

Nacional: Amplio repudio social frena Ley General de Aguas (marzo 12, 2015)

 


Chiapas: Zoque Activist, Silvia Juarez Juarez, Released

April 9, 2017

Zoque.pngSilvia Juarez Juarez (photo @OMCT)

On March 28th, Silvia Juarez Juarez, a community human rights defender and member of the Movement in Defense of Zoque Territory, was released having been held for 35 days. This movement has been developing a process of civil and peaceful resistance against exploration, extraction of hydrocarbons and mining projects in the municipality of Tecpaan, Chiapas and in the Zoque region. Silvia had been arrested on February 21st in Tuxtla Gutierrez on charges of mutiny, harassment and kidnapping – allegedly against municipal officials – in the framework of a protest in which she did not participate, on February 13th.

On March 28th, the head of the State Attorney General’s Office, Raciel Lopez Salazar, withdrew from the criminal action for the crimes that were charged “considering that the agent of the Public Prosecutor’s Office lacked elements to prove the aforementioned crimes.” Therefore, the activist was released from the State Center for Social Reinsertion of the Sentenced No. 14, El Amate, in the municipality Cintalapa de Figueroa.

Nevertheless, Silvia Juarez is still subject to prosecution, “with the obligation to sign before the Court every two weeks, because Judge Cesar Rodriguez Robles, Supervisory Judge, considered that there are elements to prove the crime of damages. Facing threats of risk to her integrity and repeated harassment against the defenders of Zoque territory, Silvia Juarez cannot return home with her family.”

It is also worth mentioning that on the day Silvia Juarez Juarez was released, “the municipal president of Tecpatan, Armando Pastrana Jimenez, filed for an injunction for the withdrawal of the PGJE to prevent the community defender from leaving prison” and also maintained his complaint against 29 other community defenders.

In a statement on the case, the Fray Bartolome de Las Casas Center for Human Rights (FRAYBA),  expressed concern that “despite changes in the criminal justice system, in Chiapas, practices of violations of judicial guarantees and judicial protection, including presumption of innocence, continue, which result in arbitrary deprivation of liberty.”

For more information in Spanish:

Libre activista zoque, tras desistimiento de denuncia de PGJ Chiapas (Proceso, 5 de abril de 2017)

Liberan a indígena zoque Silvia Juárez (Expreso Chiapas, 6 de abril de 2017)

Silvia Juárez Juárez, defensora del territorio, en libertad (Chiapas Paralelo, 6 de abril de 2017)

Libre Silvia Juárez, defensora zoque (Primera edición Chiapas, 5 de abril de 2017)

Condena el Frayba encarcelamiento de Silvia Juárez (El Heraldo de Chiapas, 5 de abril de 2017)

Luego de 35 días en prisión, la activista Silvia Juárez Juárez es liberada (Aqui Noticias, 6 de abril de 2017)

 For more information from SIPAZ:

Chiapas : denuncian criminalización de defensores de la Madre Tierra en zona zoque (1 de marzo de 2017)

Chiapas : comunidades zoques se oponen a extracción de hidrocarburos en el norte de Chiapas (20 de octubre de 2016)

Chiapas: Silvia Juárez Juárez anima a sus compañeros a seguir en la defensa de la tierra desde la cárcel (27 de marzo de 2017)

 


Oaxaca: Isthmus Inhabitants Seek Injunction against Special Economic Zones (SEZ)

March 25, 2017

SEZ.pngAPOYO Press Conference Photo@EDUCA

On March 16, organizations from 11 municipalities from the Tehuantepec Isthmus filed a collective injunction as indigenous peoples against the Special Economic Zones (SEZ). More than 1,800 people from the Binniza, Ikoots, Mixe, Chontal and Zoque villages, which form part of the Network of Indigenous Peoples of the Oaxacan Isthmus in Defense of Territory (APOYO in its Spanish acronym), signed the injunction. In a press conference on March 17, they reported that “the regional collective injunction filed yesterday aims to protect the rights of indigenous peoples of the Tehuantepec Isthmus, regarding the infrastructure that is intended to be built on their territories without consultation and without obtaining their free, prior and informed consent, for the start of another stage of installation of more wind farms in the region.”

A member of APOYO recalled that, “for several years we have seen how we have had wind farms imposed in our communities that have seriously affected our life, culture and natural resources violating the fabric of our community.” And now the “Federal government has authorized the construction of infrastructure for a second phase of wind expansion in the Isthmus.”

It was also stated that the second phase of wind farms is “arriving in an imposed manner and in the same way as the first phase with promises of development and growth.” It was concluded that the second phase of wind development is the spearhead of the SEZ, which “is characterized by very specific laws and regulations that violate the individual and collective rights of communities.”

For more information in Spanish:

Se amparan pueblos del Istmo contra Zona Económica Especial (EDUCA, 17 de marzo de 2017)

Comunicado: COMUNICADO DE PRENSA DE LA ARTICULACION DE PUEBLOS ORIGINARIOS DEL ISTMO OAXAQUENO EN DEFENSA DEL TERRITORIO (APOYO) (17 de marzo de 2017)

Contacto de APOYO: articulaciondepueblos@gmail.com

PARQUES EÓLICOS: LA CARA DEL DESPOJO EN EL ISTMO DE TEHUANTEPEC (Sin Embargo, 1 de abril de 2015)

 For more information from SIPAZ:

Oaxaca: comunidades del Istmo presentan amparo ante la ZEE (noviembre de 2016)

Nacional: el Senado aprueba la Ley Federal de Zonas Económicas Especiales (ZEE) (15 de abril de 2016)


National: CNI Denounces that “The War against its Peoples” Continues

March 14, 2017

CNI.pngPhoto @ SipazOn

March 9, the National Indigenous Congress (CNI) published a communiqué denouncing that while they continue to organize themselves towards “the formation of an Indigenous Council of Government (…) the dispossession and repression from the bad governments on its three levels continues to act against our Mother Earth, our peoples and our autonomous organizations. “

 The CNI again gives various examples of repression being suffered by indigenous peoples, among others, the acts of violence that occurred in the state of Oaxaca against the community of San Francisco del Mar, Tehuantepec Isthmus region “to impose the approval of wind projects involving the dispossession of an important part of common land of this community and would seriously affect its rich and delicate ecosystem.” This region is a vital place for thousands of fishermen and fishing is the source of food for the entire population. “If the project was approved, it would mean taking away their right to their source of life and livelihood.” The CNI stated that, “this is an integral plan of dispossession of the territories of the communities of the Isthmus to fulfill the megaprojects they intend to impose in the region with the so-called Tehuantepec Isthmus Special Economic Zone (SEZ).”

It also lashed out against the armed forces of “bad government that have acted in unison with the criminal gangs and particularly against the indigenous community of Santa María Ostula” in the state of Michoacan, where 34 comuneros have been killed and at least 5 are disappeared. It again demanded “the punishment of the responsible military and politicians, the cancellation of arrest warrants against Ostula commanders and the Sierra Costa region, the presentation of the disappeared alive, and absolute respect for the communal territory of Ostula.”

Finally, the CNI demanded the immediate release of the unjustly imprisoned indigenous ñhañhú Raymundo Pascual Garcia, originally from San Ildefonso, Amealco, in the state of Queretaro, who was arrested for participating with his community in the mobilizations against the “gasolinazo“.

 For more information in Spanish:

Comunicado del Congreso Nacional Indígena del 9 de marzo de 2017 (Enlace Zapatista, 9 de marzo de 2017)

Pescadores rechazan proyecto eólico en San Francisco del Mar (Istmo Press, 7 de marzo de 2017)

Comunicado “Una historia para tratar de Entender (Enlace Zapatista, , 17 de noviembre de 2016)

Lo importante es la insumisión, no ganar la presidencia con candidata indígena: EZLN (Proceso, 17 de noviembre de 2016)

For more information from SIPAZ:

Chiapas/Nacional : Candidata presidencial “no es decisión de una persona” (Subcomandante Moíses) (15 de noviembre de 2016)

Chiapas /Nacional: Polémica después de la propuesta planteada por el EZLN y el CNI en octubre (24 de octubre de 2016)

Chiapas / Nacional : CNI y EZLN realizarán consulta para nombrar a una candidata indígena hacia las elecciones presidenciales de 2018 (15 de octubre de 2016)

 

 

 


Oaxaca: Communities Affected by “San José” Mining Project Occupy SEMARNAT Offices

March 5, 2017

Communities affected by mining project occcupy SEMARNAT Photo @EDUCA

On February 28, commissions from various communities of the Ocotlan Valley United People’s Coordinator (COPUVO) and the Magdalena Ocotlan Defense Committee against Mining, demanded a halt to the work of the Fortuna Silver Mines (FSM) mining company in a demonstration at the headquarters of the Ministry of the Environment and Natural Resources (SEMARNAT). They managed to be received by the SEMARNAT delegate, Tomas Gonzalez Illescas, who assured them that the body that he directs “has not granted any permission to the mining company and that therefore the establishment of an investigation would correspond to the Federal Attorney for Environmental Protection (PROFEPA) and, if applicable, sanctions that could lead to the cancellation of the concession.” For their part, a representative of the community of San Martin de los Cansecos warned: “The communities and ejidos are organizing, and we will not allow them to make explorations and expand the mining project.”

It should be noted that since 2014 the mining company FSM, through its subsidiary Cuzcatlan, “carries out illegal exploration for the “San José” mining project, as SEMARNAT has assured that it has not granted permits for these actions.” For this reason, on November 8, 2015, at a regional assembly, their territories were declared free of mining and they decided not to allow any exploration and mining work on their ejidos. In spite of this, on November 24 last, “the WSF company proposed a technical study to SEMARNAT with the objective of conducting direct mining explorations in zones of agricultural use within the mining concession Progreso II.” The area where the mining company intends to conduct explorations is also an area for recharging aquifers, so permitting exploration permits constitutes a serious environmental threat. Faced with such a situation, the affected communities submitted a letter to SEMARNAT on December 1, “demanding that said authority deny authorization … because of the impact that such work would have on our communities”, which has not yet received a response.

 For more information in Spanish:

NIEGAN SEMARNAT Y PROFEPA PROTEGER TERRITORIOS EN OCOTLÁN Y EJUTLA FRENTE A PROYECTO MINERO (EDUCA, 28 de febrero de 2017)

Toman SEMARNAT comunidades afectadas por proyecto minero San José (EDUCA, 28 de febrero de 2017)

Denuncian zapotecos indolencia oficial frente al avance de proyectos mineros en Oaxaca (Proceso, 28 de febrero de 2017)

 For more information from SIPAZ:

Oaxaca: A 3 años del asesinato de Bernardo Vásquez, Fortuna Silver espera mayores ganancias (26 de mayo de 2015)

Oaxaca: presentan el informe “Justicia para San José del Progreso” (11 de marzo de 2014)

Oaxaca: Misión Civil de Observación a San José del Progreso (Noviembre de 2012)

Oaxaca: Asesinato del vocero de la Coordinadora de los Pueblos Unidos del Valle de Ocotlán (17 de marzo de 2012)

 


Chiapas: FDPS Suspends Dialogue with Government until El Puntal Is Closed and Other Concessions Repealed

March 1, 2017

FDPS.png(@Otros Mundos)

In a communiqué issued on February 16, the Popular Front in Defense of the Soconusco June 20 (FDPS in its Spanish acronym) reported its decision to suspend the working tables maintained with representatives of the government of Chiapas since October 2016 for breach of agreements reached. This will be until the “Casas Viejas” (titanium) mine of El Puntal company is closed and 13 other mining concessions in the municipality are repealed.

For 143 days, members of the FDPS have established a camp in Acacoyagua (where the “Casas Viejas” mine is located) “seeing that the mayor of Acacoyagua, Mr. Patricio Eli Matias, was not complying with the Declaration of the Municipality Free of Mining, which he had signed in August 2015. This document commits him to revoke the “Casas Viejas” license and the two other active mining projects in the municipality, in addition to not granting licenses to the remaining ten mining concessions in Acocayagua.”

On suspending the process, the FDPS denounced that “the role of government institutions is to act in favor of the rights of the inhabitants in the face of their violation; it should not be to promote deterrence techniques for the benefit of companies, nor to find solutions that allow the mining company to evade its responsibilities.” They explained that, “we will not participate in work spaces with the government of Chiapas that foment community division and the defamation of our movement and our members. We will not lend ourselves to political games that dilate the attention of our demands for the violation of our rights by the mining companies and by government institutions, such as SEMARNAT, which through its environmental policy permits the exploration, exploitation And pollution of our natural assets, of water and the land.”

They concluded by the same token that, “We will continue to call for the demands of the population: a municipality free of mining, dams and geothermal projects; a territory with free rivers and land, healthy, where we can sow and produce; a territory with families without diseases, without conflicts, without the purchase of consciences and where the project of development and of life is decided by the organization and the self-determination of the peoples.”

 For more information in Spanish:

A 143 días de campamento, el FPDS salimos de las mesas de trabajo con el gobierno por ignorar nuestras exigencias (Comunicado del FPDS, 16 de febrero de 2017)

Sin mesas de trabajo con el gobierno: FPDS (Somoselmedio, 17 de febrero de 2017)

Gobierno de Velasco Coello, protege a empresas mineras y fomenta división comunitaria: FPDS (Revolución 3.0, 18 de febrero de 2017)

For more information from SIPAZ :

Chiapas : desde hace más de 15 días, habitantes del Soconusco mantienen bloqueo carretero contra proyectos mineros(12 de octubre de 2016)

Chiapas: nueve municipios declaran sus territorios libres de minería e hidroeléctricas (11 de diciembre de 2015)


Chiapas: Tila Ejido Denounces Attempt to Kidnap Commissary

February 26, 2017

Tila.pngAnniversary of Tila Ejido on October 16, 2014

On February 6, Tila Ejido published a communiqué denouncing: “a group of inhabitants of the Cantioc community annex organized by members of the green party and the city council attempted to kidnap the President of the Ejidal Commissariat, coming to his house at dawn this Monday, February 6, after midnight to take him in that community another new attempt to provoke a conflict to strike our ejidal autonomy” (sic).

It was previously reported that on January 26, the machinery of a government project was brought into Cantioc community, which is part of the Tila ejido, and they began to work. Because of that, the authorities began to mobilize and found the “agricultural engineer Carlos Domingo Sanchez Martinez who is in charge of these jobs and who is an inhabitant of Cantioc and leader of the Green Ecologist Party who was in his Nissan pickup accompanied by three trucks full of people who were looking after them.” When the engineer and his companions realized that more trucks were coming from the ejido they began to flee, he didn’t manage to escape but his companions did. The engineer was detained for violating the agreement of the general assembly, so he began to argue and accuse the “ejido commissary that he was taken before the ejidal commissary to say his words in front of the assembly.”

To inform him well, they called a new assembly where they shared the agreements they took on May 15 and July 3, 2016, which say “not to enter more of these programs and projects in the annexes and neighborhoods, according to their right to self-determination in constitutional articles 1, 2, 27, articles 21, 22, 23, 31, 32,33 of the agrarian law and as a right of indigenous peoples.” After this assembly the engineer signed the Act and “In agreement that they did not process to make any claim against the commissariat  that was what they expressed before the assembly and all the assembly members who were present are witnesses.” This is what the Act says and it also says that, “furthermore, if there is a paramilitary threat with the representatives of the annexes, they will also be immediately responsible for all acts that may happen, as we know these green party ecologist people are those who were hooded in the campaigns” (sic).

But instead of honoring his word in front of the assembly, on Sunday, February 5, at night, they tried to kidnap the ejido commissary. As they failed to do so, on Monday, February 6, the engineer and his group organized a demonstration in Yajalon to denounce the alleged kidnapping and physical and psychological assaults by the ejido authorities and falsely saying in their document: “that the commissariat came with ski masks, firearms, sticks and machetes”, and also saying that one of the detainees is in ill health for which they demand economic support and government action against the ejido authorities.

Tila ejido denounces:

FIRST; That by the will of our maximum authority general assembly, it determined that the entrance of all government personnel and their projects is forbidden, more so in secret, so that they will be presented to the seat of the ejido to determine its sanction.

SECOND; We hold the previously mentioned political actors responsible, C. Edgar Leopoldo as the main operator, their leaders the former president of Tila and now local deputy, Sandra Luz Cruz Espinosa, and her husband Limberg Gregorio Gutierrez and the Government of the State that propels them to violence against the ejido and Tila Ejido ejidatarios. It is their paramilitary and criminal way that they use violence, conflicts and confrontations to control the people and govern it and for that reason they want to end our ejido autonomy.

THIRD; As always they try to spread false accusations against the ejido authorities in the official media that are paid to spread their false versions and justify the repression because they were not attacked nor they were mistreated but they are aggressive and for this reason they were stopped and taken to the seat of the ejido to present them before the Assembly for their nonconformity.

FOURTH; That we will continue to build our ejido autonomy and self-government because the assembly so determines that it is the best way to live more quietly without this bad government that repressed and dispossessed us. WE DEMAND that the different levels of government leave us alone to build IN PEACE our self-determination as a Chol people.

 For more information in Spanish:

Ejido Tila Chiapas, culpa a partido verde por intento de secuestro (Pozol Colectivo, a 7 de febrero 2017)

 For more information from SIPAZ:

Chiapas : Primer aniversario de autonomía y auto gobierno del ejido ch’ol de Tila

Chiapas: Denuncia de las y los ejidatarios de Tila

Chiapas : Ejido Tila denuncia asesinato violento de dos jóvenes en sus territorios, situación que pretende desestabilizar sus reivindicaciones autónomas, consideran.